It’s beautiful; it’s poisonous; it’s Nerium oleander! From their distinctive foliage to the privacy they offer in your landscaping design, it’s safe to say that this hardy flowering shrub has many remarkable qualities. Oleander is a popular favorite in the Fort Lauderdale area due to its ability to thrive in warm climates and its long-flowering ornamental beauty. However, oleander plants are poisonous, so it’s important to follow these tips for safely growing and maintaining proper care of healthy oleander plants!
Safe Care for Your Oleander Plant
First things first: don’t let your oleander plant grow near children or pets in your garden. The smoke from the burning of oleander debris is toxic, as is all the foliage of the oleander shrub and any smoke from burning cuttings. Oleander foliage can be deadly, even if consumed in small amounts. Contact with oleander leaves can also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Whenever you are working with these poisonous beauties, you’ll want to make sure to wear gloves and protect your skin! Undoubtedly, these low-maintenance, long-lasting flowering shrubs are worth it for their beauty and ease, but ensuring that you take the proper precautions is essential.
Watering Your Oleander Plant
One of the many benefits of oleander is that its maintenance is effortless. They don’t require too much water, are humidity tolerant, and thrive in full sun environments, perfect for Fort Lauderdale’s weather conditions! Despite being drought resistant, oleander shrubs thrive when they are watered periodically during dry periods. If your plant’s leaves start to yellow, then cut back on your watering.
Seasonal Care for Your Oleander Plant
Oleanders are hardy in hardiness zones 9 through 10, meaning that they can survive the winter weather in SoFlo with no problem. However, you will need to change your care routines through the seasons. Stop fertilizing in the late fall to let your plant rest over the winter, and start again in the spring.
If you have small oleanders in containers, you can move them indoors and out, but we recommend spraying your plants with neem oil to prevent any pests from making their way indoors and attacking your other houseplants. If you’re introducing your plant outside, bring it out for only a couple of hours a day, increasing it to the sunlight so that it doesn’t go into shock.
When Should You Cut Oleander Back?
It is best to trim oleanders right after they bloom since they have a very short blooming period. The varieties that bloom into the fall must be trimmed by the middle of September or early fall while the temperature is not too cold. You can begin by removing any dead or damaged growth, then thinning out crowded growth on your plant. If you have potted oleanders, you should replant them in the spring in increasingly larger containers so that they have room to expand.
How to Fertilize Your Oleander
We meant it when we said that oleander is an extremely low-maintenance plant, so they rarely require fertilizer or any soil amendments. Fertilizing your oleander plant can actually cause more harm than damage as it may burn the shrub’s roots in certain instances. If your oleander needs a boost, try giving it a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. If the leaves start to turn brown or the plant looks like it’s suffering, stop fertilizing until it recovers. At most, you’ll only need to fertilize in the early spring and early fall.
Oleander is just as beautiful as it is poisonous but provided that you follow the proper care regimen and safety precautions, you should have no trouble incorporating this versatile, hardy, and long-flowering shrub into your Floridian garden! Please visit our plant experts at Living Color Garden Center in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area for more information on this famous flowering beauty.